Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway: Coming Together on Common Ground


BOSTON — “In the heart of Boston, there is a fantastic and creative little park…The features of the park are, simply put, works of art…the shape-changing split dodecahedron, like memory is constantly changing… a living piece of art, celebrating life…the embodiment of living memory…” as Wanderlust Americana describes Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway.

To herald the beginning of spring, on Sunday, April 8 beginning at 7:30 a.m., a crane will lift and pull apart the two halves of the Park’s Abstract Sculpture, a split rhomboid dodecahedron made of steel and aluminum and reconfigure the two halves to create a new sculptural shape. This annual reconfiguration is symbolic of all who pulled away from their country of origin and came to these Massachusetts shores, establishing themselves in new and different ways. “The Abstract Sculpture shows how public art becomes a part of the city…an example of public art that is both permanent and alive,” wrote Joanna Weiss in the Boston Globe.

The Park’s Charles and Doreen Bilezikian Endowed Fund supports the annual reconfiguration.

A&A Industries, Anahid and Aurelian Mardiros, fabricated the Abstract Sculpture, their generous gift-in-kind. The rain date for reconfiguration is April 15.

The Abstract Sculpture sits atop a Reflecting Pool with its etched inscription read even by those just passing through. “The Abstract Sculpture is dedicated to lives lost during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 and all genocides that have followed” one reads also that the Park and its endowed funds is a gift from Armenian-Americans to the City of Boston and the Commonwealth.

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Beginning with the annual reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture, programs are held at the Park during the year, free and open to the public. On Saturday, April 21, the Commemoration at the Park, a program of the Boston Armenian Genocide Committee, will take place 3 to 5 p.m. The two-day commemoration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide also includes the annual State House Commemoration on Friday morning, April 20. On Sunday, April 22, the Walk Against Genocide, a program of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur, begins at the New England Holocaust Memorial at 1:30 p.m. followed by the walk to Heritage Park.

Celebrate Public Art at the Park, a featured program during ArtWeek Boston on Saturday, May 5 at 1 p.m., begins with the celebration of World Labyrinth Day: Walk as One at 1 p.m., an international initiative of The Labyrinth Society with more than 20 countries world-wide “walking together as one at 1 p.m.” in peace and harmony. For the first time, Armenia is participating, walking the newly-built labyrinth in Gyumri.

The reception to view the 2018 Configuration of the Abstract Sculpture follows at 1:30 p.m. Sarah Baker, editor-in-chief, Art New England magazine, will offer brief remarks. Baker will be introduced by Lucas Cowan, public art curator, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Tea and desserts are hosted by MEM Tea Imports and Eastern Lamejun Bakers.

Under a Strawberry Moon, a first-time event, is being held on Thursday, June 28 at 8:30 p.m. to meet and greet, network, walk the moonlit labyrinth and enjoy chocolate-dipped strawberries and ice teas, hosted by Vicki Lee’s and MEM Tea Import. Tea & Tranquility, the late afternoon summer series on Wednesday, June 20, July 18 and August 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., is again offered in collaboration with Age-Friendly Boston and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conversancy with ice tea and desserts hosted by MEM Tea Imports and The Bostonian Hotel.

This year’s Sunday Afternoon at the Park for Families & Friends on September 16 from 2-4 will feature the music of Boston Hye Guys Ensemble: Ron Sahatjian, clarinet; Joe Kouyoumjian, oud and Art Chingris, percussion. Each year the generosity of the musicians who perform continue to inspire as does the sharing of the talents, time and treasure of so many during the year.

The Welcome Reception for New Citizens following the Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall takes place during the Fall with the date confirmed during the summer. The Park’s Anna and Noubar Afeyan Endowed Fund supports the Welcome Reception offered in collaboration with US Courts, The Bostonian Society, Museum of Fine Arts, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy among others.

Celebrate Public Art! during HubWeek in October is a two-day program featuring the Labyrinth and Abstract Sculpture. During the evening highlighting the Abstract Sculpture, the newly developed curriculum, Geometry as Public Art: Telling A Story, for school children recently piloted at The Eliot K-8 Innovation School, Boston Public School in the North End will be introduced. The Park’s Abstract Sculpture, a geometric shape that “tells a story of the immigrant experience”, has inspired the development of this curriculum. The intent of the curriculum is to engage students to share their own or their families’ immigrant experience and, in doing so, to build common ground as we are all immigrants to the United States, except for Native Americans.

The Najarian Lecture on Human Rights at Faneuil Hall is being held during the late Fall, following a year’s reprise. Endowed by George and Dr. Carolann Najarian, this public program of the Park is a “call to action to respond to the societal abuses of today in much the same way as the men and women who gathered at Faneuil Hall in the beginning of the 1890’s who heard the eyewitness accounts of the atrocities taking place against the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire and during the First World War, spoke passionately about the urgent need for intervention and were called to action”.

The Candlelit Labyrinth Walk on Sunday, December 16 from 4:30-6 p.m. with Hot Chocolate and Cookies hosted by The Bostonian Hotel culminates this annual series of programs.

Thorough the year, there are always visitors to the Park. “In the city, I’m drawn back to the AHP. There is a certain peace, calm and safety I feel there, especially very late at night….”, comments Zareh Zurabyan on Facebook. “It definitely has a certain level of clarity in the middle of all the craziness of the downtown…”.

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